the friday before last after work i came home, and in trying to figure out what to do, ended up going through some of the many containers of papers tamara left behind. i know i should probably just toss or burn the stuff, but i still feel like it’s not my right or position to throw away this stuff that is in no way mine. would she care about any of it now? maybe. i don’t know. but i don’t feel like it’s my call. and on some level i still find myself having some kind of sick curiosity to see if i can come across things she wrote that can help me understand what was going on in her mind and why she did what she did.
i have to be in the right mindset to be able to go through any of it, and i have to have a lot of emotional energy. if i don’t, going through it will still break me down too easily. even though there are plenty of things she did unfairly as her affair and our divorce progressed — and thus plenty of things i can be rightfully furious and upset about — there was a lot of deep emotion invested in my relationship with her. that stuff doesn’t just disappear (at least not for me). so though time lessens the freshness of the memories and the immediate and overwhelming pain of what happened, it’s still in there. it’s not that i haven’t tried to move on, tried to process it, tried to face it head on, tried to put it aside, tried to distract myself, tried to find new things — i guess it’s just that all those things have failed, at least overall. time has diluted the intensity, but time does not fix things. and the fact is, my life and personality and activities have not helped to move me on nearly as much as i would like. but then some of the things i would like to move onto are not just up to me, and the failings of my own personality work against me very strongly.
so, what was the result of my foray into old papers? i found some drawings related to her wedding dress and the ceremony, a practice vow and ring statement she’d written, some lines of her practicing variations on her name with my last name — tamara susan leifeste, tamara tabo leifeste, etc. — (which she never actually took or used), and a bunch of old papers and stuff she’d written while in high school. it was odd going through those things and seeing how fresh and on-fire she was about her new-found christianity. i also found a “letter to santa” she wrote (for a class she was taking) from sept 5, 1997 (which would be around the time we started dating) where she wrote:
For Terry, I hope for a rather abstract present, Santa. He is so full of brilliance, but yet he is paralyzed by his fear of failure. If you could help Terry trust himself more and to believe in the validity of his ideas, you would be doing him, and potentially the rest of the world, a great service.
i guess we can see that didn’t happen, in any number of ways.
with all of this stuff left behind for me to deal with, it really is like she died. but there’s more to that perspective than just the stuff. from the time it happened, it was like the person i knew was gone and some other spirit came and inhabited her body. the tamara i knew ceased to exist, and something else — something much less than tamara — took her place. i wish she could have held on to our vows, held on to G-d. but she didn’t. someone suggested our life together had become very difficult, and we each returned to our methods of coping we’d used in the past (in years past). obviously the things in her life since (that i’ve known about)…well, it’s not my business, not my responsibility, and not my concern — especially after all that happened — but the bonds of marriage were strong and deep and they still tug at my heart and soul from time to time.
I, Tamara, commit myself before G-d and Man to a lifetime of love for, fidelity to, and care of Terry. I promise to regard him always with the respect, admiration, and affection that he deserves.
I offer you this ring, white as our souls with the purifying Christ, as a symbol of the eternity of my love and devotion.
beautiful words. words she wrote. if only they were true.